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About retrofade

  • Birthday 11/27/1982

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    Fresno State
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    Fresno State and UNC sports.

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  1. Exclusive: Russia-linked smear campaign against Hunter Biden began earlier than previously thought A thumb drive handed by a foreign national to an aide traveling with then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in 2019 suggests efforts by Russia-linked actors to influence the 2020 US presidential election with Hunter Biden disinformation began earlier and were broader in scope than has previously been reported. According to two sources with direct knowledge of the incident, a thumb drive containing poorly sourced allegations about Hunter Biden and his work for Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, was thrust into the hands of one of Pompeo's aides at the conservative Claremont Institute's 40th-anniversary gala in Beverly Hills on May 11, 2019. The man pushing the thumb drive was a citizen of an Eastern European country and a guest of Claremont. He was also, for a time, an FBI confidential informant with the code name "Rollie." His true name is known to Business Insider, which is identifying him only as Rollie in order to protect sources who provided information for this story. Rollie, on the other hand, seemed unconcerned about potential exposure. At first, he denied knowing anything about Pompeo when contacted by BI. But when BI sent him a photo of him at the gala with Pompeo, he admitted he had been there. "You can publish," he wrote. "It's advertising for me." Pompeo met "Rollie" (at right) at the Claremont Institute's 40th anniversary gala on May 11, 2019. The former KGB agent handed a thumb drive with Hunter Biden disinformation to Pompeo's aide that evening. Rollie told associates and confirmed to Business Insider he had once served in the KGB, the Soviet secret police and intelligence agency, before swearing loyalty to the country where he now resides. The thumb drive that Rollie gave Pompeo's aide contained some of the same material that Rollie had presented weeks earlier, in January 2019, in a briefing to Justice Department officials in Los Angeles. "I'm not interested in the past," Rollie said when asked over WhatsApp about the briefing. He denied that he gave anyone a thumb drive at the Claremont Institute event. Business Insider has obtained a copy of slides that accompanied Rollie's January 2019 presentation. They accuse Hunter Biden and his business associates of engaging in money laundering, tax evasion, and fraud. Rollie's slides offer a labyrinthine wire chart, clippings from old news articles, and a potpourri of links, including to various Ukrainian and Russian websites. President Joe Biden's first name is repeatedly misspelled as "Josef." They contain no evidence of criminal activity. Nevertheless, according to a disclosure prepared by the FBI whistleblower Johnathan Buma, Rollie's handler, the material was taken seriously enough to be passed on to FBI agents in Delaware who were investigating Hunter Biden. Also included were some Ukrainian-language backup materials that BI hasn't reviewed. Rollie confirmed to Business Insider he had prior contact with the FBI. The Rollie presentation sheds new light on the timeline of efforts by Russia and by operatives for Donald Trump to seed allegations about Joe Biden's relationship to Burisma with the media and government authorities. While questions about the propriety of Hunter Biden's lucrative Burisma work in Ukraine were raised by The New York Times as early as 2015 and explored in a 2018 book by the conservative author Peter Schweizer, they didn't explode into the forefront of the political conversation until March 2019. It was during that month that Rudy Giuliani gave Pompeo a folder of Hunter Biden material that he obtained from Ukraine, and the right-wing investigative reporter John Solomon began publishing a series of columns about Hunter Biden and Burisma in The Hill. One month later, in April 2019, Hunter abandoned his laptop at a Delaware repair shop, eventually leading to a wave of revelations in October 2020 that included information about his business dealings in Ukraine. The Hunter-Burisma material that was presented in January 2019, and again on the thumb drive given to Pompeo's aide in May 2019, appears to be the earliest known case of Burisma-related disinformation of foreign origin being ingested and apparently taken seriously by members of the US intelligence community. It also suggests a third channel of 2020 disinformation moving from East to West, one that's separate from the previously known efforts that went through Giuliani and Alexander Smirnov, another FBI informant with ties to Russia and Eastern Europe. Smirnov was indicted last week over accusations of lying to the FBI about Hunter Biden. Prosecutors have said in court filings that Smirnov has extensive ties to Russian intelligence. It's easy to see why Hunter Biden's critics have focused on Burisma. The energy company paid Biden about $600,000 a year during a period that overlapped with his father's vice presidency. It's unclear what the company got for its money beyond the ability to brag about an indirect line into the White House. But almost five years after his departure from the board, Hunter Biden was never charged with any wrongdoing for his Burisma service. Instead, the special counsel David Weiss has charged Hunter Biden with tax evasion and lying on a form to purchase a firearm. The revelation about Rollie's thumb drive comes shortly after Smirnov's indictment, in which he's charged with making false statements about Hunter Biden in June 2020. Like Smirnov, Rollie's materials accuse Hunter Biden of involving his father in Burisma's business and committing vast off-the-books fraud. Smirnov's claims included that Burisma officials paid a $5 million bribe to Joe Biden and were memorialized in an FBI 1023 form, which records raw reporting from confidential sources, that was circulated by the Republican senator Charles Grassley. The thumb-drive incident raises further questions about the ease with which foreign actors can obtain access to the highest levels of the US government and then pass off rubbish as legitimate intelligence. https://www.businessinsider.com/a-russia-linked-campaign-to-spread-dirt-about-hunter-biden-and-burisma-2024-2
  2. Good for him. If he's been cleared, then I hope he has a successful career. Screw you you for trying to make it about you.
  3. Republican: Colleagues were warned informant’s Biden claims were not verified Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) on Wednesday criticized his Republican colleagues for using a former FBI informant’s claims in their impeachment inquiry even though the statements hadn’t been verified. “We were warned at the time that we received the document outlining this witness’s testimony. … We were warned that the credibility of this statement was not known,” Buck said on CNN’s “The Source.” “And yet, people, my colleagues went out and talk to the public about how this was credible and how it was damning and how it proved President Biden’s — at the time Vice President Biden’s — complicity in receiving bribes,” he added. The informant, Alexander Smirnov, was arrested and charged last week with making false statements to the FBI. He had previously told the FBI that President Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, received $5 million bribes from the head of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma. House Republicans have previously put that claim at the front and center of their investigations into the Bidens. Buck said it is evident now that the information Smirnov relayed was false. “It appears to absolutely be false, and to really undercut the nature of the charges. We’ve always been looking for a link between what Hunter Biden received in terms of money and Joe Biden’s activities or Joe Biden receiving money,” Buck explained. “This clearly is not a credible link at this point.” On Wednesday, CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins then asked the Colorado Republican if House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) used the information “to fuel these investigations, regardless” of them knowing the information was not corroborated. “That’s what it appears,” Buck responded. “I certainly didn’t have any evidence outside the statement itself that it was credible. And as a prosecutor for 25 years, Kaitlan, I never went to the public until I could prove the reliability of a statement.” But Jordan and Comer, who are leading the impeachment inquiry, have pushed back on the idea that Smirnov’s arrest dealt a blow to the investigation. Jordan on Wednesday said it “doesn’t change the fundamental facts” of the Republican case against the president. They have also said that while 1023 form that contained the informant’s tip is only used to memorialize — not verify — information, they had been told the source was credible, and U.S. Attorney Scott Brady also told the panel in a transcribed interview that the document warranted further investigation. “Chris Wray told us this confidential human source was so important he couldn’t even let us see the 1023, if you remember that fight we had a year ago,” Jordan told reporters Wednesday, referring to the FBI director. A spokesman for the House Oversight Committee made the same point on Thursday and slammed Buck’s comments. “Representative Buck’s insight would be valuable if he actually attended the FBI briefing on the FD-1023 form, but he didn’t. Representative Buck would have known the FBI informed Chairman Comer and Ranking Member Raskin that the confidential human source who provided information about then-Vice President Biden was deemed credible and paid over six figures since 2010.” When asked Wednesday if it was time to shut down the impeachment inquiry, Buck said he did not know. “When all the evidence is given — and I don’t want to judge the evidence one way or the other until I have a chance to sit down with the investigators and go through the evidence. But this certainly undermines a lot if the — if the impeachment inquiry was based on this witness, it undermines the credibility of this impeachment,” he said. “I will say that it’s suspicious that anybody would pay Hunter Biden as much money as they paid him without any expertise in the oil and gas industry without any expertise in international banking,” he continued. “So those things are suspicious, but again, there’s no link directly to Vice President Biden’s activities.” https://thehill.com/homenews/house/4482705-republican-colleagues-warned-informants-biden-claims-not-be-corroborated/
  4. That has to be out of context....
  5. Jordan is spinning so hard right now, it's a wonder that his head hasn't popped off of his neck.
  6. My service came back up around 715am, along with my kids phones. It's not 930am, and my wife's phone still won't connect. AT&T just says that they're, "working on it." My guess is some sort of botched firmware update to towers or to the provider protocols on phones. The wife and I both have iPhone 15 Pro Max devices... I'm wondering if she hasn't updated to the latest version of iOS, so she might not be getting a proper update of protocols as a result. She's still out on a run, so I'll have to have her check that when she gets back. Some news outlets are claiming that a solar flare might be to blame, but that would be odd to be localized to one provider unless it just knocked out their specific ranges.
  7. I'm experiencing it right now, and in looking through some reports, it seems to be mostly related to AT&T at this point. The T-Mobile and Verizon outages seem to be more localized.
  8. AT&T’s network went down for many of its customers Thursday morning, leaving customers unable to place calls, text or access the internet. Verizon and T-Mobile customers reported some network outages, too. More than 31,000 AT&T customers reported outages on digital-service tracking site DownDetector. Although outage reports fell a bit from the 4 am ET peak, they bounced back in the 6 am ET hour. AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company has been responding to customer complaints online but has not yet acknowledged a network outage. The company has encountered sporadic outages over the past few days, including a temporary 911 outage in some parts of the southeastern United States. There also have been about 1,000 outages reported by both Verizon and T-Mobile customers Thursday morning, the DownDetector website indicates. Verizon and T-Mobile did not immediately respond to requests for comment. It’s unclear how many people have been affected or what led to the service disruption. “Downdetector offers real-time status information for over 12,000 services across 47 websites representing 47 countries,” the website says. https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/22/tech/att-cell-service-outage/index.html
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